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Dairy Challenge Team

About Dairy Challenge

Established in 2002, the North American Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge (NAIDC) is an innovative two-day competition for students representing dairy science programs at North American universities. Its mission is to facilitate education, communication and an exchange of ideas among students, agribusiness, dairy producers and universities that enhances the development of the dairy industry and its leaders.

The first morning, contestants are provided computers with dairy production records for a farm.  Four farms are used, and 8 teams are assigned to each farm (32 teams total).  Students visit the farm for two hours and then return to the hotel for lunch.  After lunch they have 4 hours to confer with teammates and produce a PowerPoint presentation for the next day.  The next morning, after an evening of fun activities, each team is given 20 minutes to make an oral presentation to 5 industry experts using the PowerPoint slides assembled the previous afternoon.  Questions and answers follow.  An evening banquet follows with the announcement of the winners.

Skills needed to perform well in the contest include knowledge of management practices related to nutrition, feeding, reproduction, herd health, finance, labor, etc., understanding how a dairy enterprise operates, ability to identify and solve dairy problems, and skills to communicate these observations effectively.  This is a team effort.  Thus, four cloned students would not make an ideal team.  Individuals must be able to work as a team and should have both specific expertise in different subjects and broad knowledge of how a dairy enterprise operates effectively.

The program is fully funded through the generous support of companies and producer associations serving the dairy industry, as well as a growing number of alumni and individual dairy farm owners. For more information or to become a sponsor of the Dairy Challenge program, visit or contact Molly J. Kelley, NAIDC Executive Director, at

Selection and Training of the 
Virginia Tech Challenge Team

Selecting individuals for a team project event differs from selecting a team for individual performance such as judging.  Strong consideration is given to performance in departmental courses, including retention of material from Dairy Enterprise Management I & II, Nutrition, Lactation, Reproduction, Information Systems, and Professional Development.  Skills valuable to the challenge team include ability to evaluate DHI records, to effectively observe and evaluate a farm operation, to present factual material in a confident manner and answer questions, and to contribute effectively to a group project.  Important aspects of team selection include class activities such as presentations, response to questions, field trip evaluations, etc., participation in the Southern Dairy Challenge (weekend before Thanksgiving), and performance in a farm evaluation tryout, often scheduled the day before classes start (a Monday in mid-January).

Once students are selected for the team, additional training sessions occur twice-weekly for one hour each until the contest (usually the last week in March, Wed-Sun).  Team members may enroll in a 2-credit field study.  A mock contest for the team will also be held on a Saturday.

With the exception of meals on travel and practice days, team members will incur few additional expenses.

The Southern Dairy Challenge  

(Thursday-Sunday prior to Thanksgiving)

Each university is allotted slots for six students to participate in the Southern Dairy Challenge.  It may be possible for a few schools to bring up to eight students if the event is not fully booked and transportation is available. This is in contrast to the North American event (NAIDC) that restricts schools to one team of four.

Preference for the Southern Challenge is given to upperclassmen who have taken the dairy management courses (DASC 4475-76) and are interested in participating in the National Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge.  If you have interest in the Dairy Challenge events, please let Dr. Alex White know as soon as possible.  The deadline for the Southern Dairy Challenge is mid-September.


2021 - Second

2020 - First & Fourth

2019 - Fifth

2018 - Third

2017 - First

2016 -  

2015 - Fourth

2014 – Third

2013 – Second

2012 – Second

2011 – Gold

2010 – Gold

2008 – Gold

2007 – Platinum First

2006 – Platinum Second

2005 – Platinum Second

2004 – Platinum First

2003 – Platinum First

2002 – Platinum First